Friday, August 3, 2012
Still Slowly Gathering
These lads were born as Garrison Sassinid Standard Bearers. They were destined to join my not really Sassanid Clibinari to give them some of that traditional bubble headed look. Some how though, even with lances, they just didn't fit in with my other, lance and bow armed, Clibinari and in any case I've been inching back from the Sassanid angle. If not lance and bow Clibinari on 1/2 armoured horses, then how should I arm them?
Prior to Alexander, Bactria and the surrounding areas seem to have produced bow and spear armed cavalry both unarmoured and armoured with some of the latter being on armoured horses. Alexander and presumably the Achaemenids before him, apparently also raised some Javelin cavalry from the southern areas reaching down into Afghanistan and two heavy javelins were standard Persian armament at the time. Some Greek cavalry would have still been javelin armed while others would have adopted the long Macedonian cavalry spear. Under the Seleucids heavily armoured Cataphracts were introduced and became the standard heavy cavalry of the Parthian Empire. In the turmoil between the fall of the Seleucids and the rise of the Kushan and Parthian empires, what would "native" cavalry raised in the area have been like?
Now its not a co-incidence that the current gathering of armies is set in a time and place where information is limited, that was the goal from the beginning. My assumption is that cavalry would have been varied, especially in a time of dynastic struggles but that the later lance and bow on 1/2 armoured horse Clibinari are unlikely even though I plan to field some. Some cataphracts are more likely, especially those with felt and leather horse armour, as well as some other lancer cavalry but since the javelin seems to have persisted through out the period, that is also a likely option for some. Lightly armoured and unarmoured cavalry probably predominated but what percentage were "cavalry" vs "light cavalry" (a distinction that I'm not convinced was as clear at the time as it is in our wargames)?.
Another question is about the hats. It seems the latest fad is to dismiss what used to be the archetypal Sassanid Felt Bubble Cap as an error but since there is evidence of some earlier Medes wearing a similar hat as well as later shepherds and the like, I am happy to assume that some thing similar has been worn by some people over the centuries. Possibly not in the area where this rebel Iranian heritage army is being raised to fight the last of the Greco-Bactrians but the hats give it a distinct flavour so they are in.
The figures just seemed to want to be modified into javelin armed cavalry so I obliged and ended up with javelin armed cavalry with shield and armour, possibly similar to Roman, later Greek or Celtic cavalry. I have been basing my shock cavalry 4 to a base and my horse archers 3 to a base and had planned to base these as four figures. The officer I painted to go with them just didn't fit so he has been relegated to command the next stand of lancers and these ended up 3 to a base. This seems to put these in the well equipped light cavalry category so that's how I'll use them , leaving the real fighting to the heavily armoured lancers. .Mind you, I think these would serve well as early Mede cavalry as well. They need some friends though.